Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ten Best Films' 2009 Mini-Poll

1. Two Lovers (James Gray, 2008)
129 points (AZ, EC, LB, MA, ML, MS, PK)
2. Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008)
113 points (AZ, EC, LB, MA, MS, PK)*
3. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
96 points (AZ, JS, LB, MA, MC, ML)

4. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
93 points (EC, JS, KW, LB, ML, PK)
5. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
81 points (KW, JS, MS, RSu, SB)
6. Antichrist (Lars von Trier)
78 points (AZ, JS, LB, ML, RSu)

7. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
76 points (EC, KW, LB, MA, ML)
8. White Material (Claire Denis)
62 points (LB, MA, MC, RSu)

9. Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson)
59 points (AZ, EC, MS, SB)
10. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)
52 points (MC, MS, RSw)*

35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008)
51 points (MA, MC, RSw)
12. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu)
50 points (LB, MA, RSu)

13. Moon (Duncan Jones)
44 points (AZ, KW,SB)

14. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)
43 points (KW, MC, MS)
15. You, the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007)
39 points (EC, RSw)*
16. (tie) Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
38 points (MS, SB)

16. (tie) Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)
38 points (LB, MC, RSu)
18. Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette)
37 points (MA, RSu)
19. (tie) Avatar (James Cameron)
30 points (PK, SB)

19. (tie) Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007)
30 points (JS, MC)*

Other Films Receiving Multiple Citations: The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Warner Herzog) - 29 points (PK, SB), Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008) - 29 points (AZ, RSw)*, Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi, 2008) - 27 points (MS, SB), Bright Star (Jane Campion) - 27 points (LB, SB), Mother (Bong Joon-ho) - 25 points (MC, ML), Vincere (Marco Bellocchio) - 25 points (MC, RSu), In the Loop (Armando Iannucci) - 25 points (MS, PK), Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze) - 23 points (EC, PK), Crank: High Voltage (Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor) - 22 points (AZ, MS)

Note: Films marked with an asterisk [*] received at least one vote in last year's poll, or with list-makers two years ago (as in the case of Silent Light). Combining last year's results with this year's, Summer Hours' tally increases to 147 points, The Headless Woman's to 139, Tokyo Sonata's to 97.5 and You, the Living's to 50. Last year's top vote-getter was A Christmas Tale with 126 points.

Scoring: Each citation receives ten points with an additional ten for a first place citation, nine for second, and so on, on down to one for tenth. This method of scoring is intended (per Paul Martin's very astute insights in the comments section) to give appropriate weight to those films included on the most lists.

Key: AZ - Alberto Zambenedetti (Ten Best Films), EC - Emily Condon, JS - Jeremi Szaniawski (Ten Best Films), KW - Karen Wang (Scarlett Cinema), LB - Lisa K. Broad (Tativille), MA - Michael J. Anderson (Tativille), MC - Michael Cramer, ML - Mike Lyon (Tits and Gore), MS - Matt Singer (Termite Art), PK - P. L. Kerpius (Scarlett Cinema), RSu - Richard Suchenski (Ten Best Films), RSw - R. Emmet Sweeney (Termite Art), SB - Soren Bailey


Paul Martin said...

I'm a little astounded at the distribution of scores, especially with the top 2 so far ahead of the rest. Can you explain how you assign points?

Michael J. Anderson said...

It's a simple 10 for first, 9 for second and so on, down to 1 for tenth. The curious thing about this year's sampling is not only that so many contributors included "Two Lovers" and "Summer Hours," but that in many instances they were very high on the lists. As of this moment, "Two Lovers'" average placement was 3rd (on 7 lists) and "Summer Hours'" was 2nd (on 6 ballots). By contrast, the next highest finisher, "Inglourious Basterds" appeared on 4 in an average of 6th place approximately. Same with "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Up."

Paul Martin said...

Ah, I suspected you might have used an algorithm like that. As a technical business analyst who works a lot with statistical analysis, I have a problem with that as it has the potential to misrepresent people's preferences.

Consider this: many serious film-goers (and film writers certainly) watch 200, 300 or more films a year. When one collates a top 10, there's usually not much separating one's preferences, and it's usually pretty hard to differentiate (in terms of preference) between say #3 and #10. It's not that one liked #1 ten times more than #10.

So, if for argument's sake nine people put Ingourious Basterds and put it at #10 and one person put Two Lovers at #1, the latter would be rated higher. That's just not representative of the film's preference at all and the whole affair is exacerbated when people like myself can collate a top 10 in no particular preferential order.

Anyway, it's your collation and you're entitled to calculate it as you please. But it'd be interesting to see how the poll would turn out if each person's selection was simply assigned one point each. In my opinion, that would be a more honest poll.

Aside from the point above, I'm surprised that so many people ranked Two Lovers so highly, though I can understand the selection of Summer Hours.

Michael J. Anderson said...

Paul, you are correct and I think I made an adjustment that will give proper, appropriate weight to consensus (while still preserving individual orders of preference). Thank you for your insightful commentary.

Paul Martin said...

Oh well, thanks for being open to my opinion. Tell me, how much difference did it make to your poll results? It looks like Basterds has gone from #4 to #3, but I can't remember the others.

Michael J. Anderson said...

There have been a couple of lists added since you last checked, so that too impacts the final results. Without the adjustment made to favor those films with the most citations, the top ten would go 1) Two Lovers, 2) Summer Hours, 3) Inglourious Basterds, 4) Fantastic Mr. Fox, 5) The Limits of Control, 6) White Material, 7) The White Ribbon (so far the same, then), 8) The Headless Woman (currently 10th), 9) 35 Shots of Rum, 10) Police, Adjective. Dropping out would be Up (8th) and Antichrist (9th). This would suit me fine as 35 Shots of Rum and Police, Adjective were among my own choices. I suspect the problem with both was less that the other contributors preferred other films, than that most didn't see either film. Had they, I can't help but think the Denis would have made the top ten - being such an easy pleasure - and that the Romanian picture would have had a shot, given its formal excellence. At least I like to think so.